Saturday, October 26, 2013

What was THAT all about??

I don’t feel like this now - I’m busy with uni, ethics and planning Mamapalooza - but because I did feel like this a few weeks ago, I think it is worth posting. All part of the process and normal.

Now that I’m feeling a bit better, again, I feel like I need to process what has happened to me, and why. During the last year I’ve been accepting, and tried to be pleasant and positive. Relentlessly positive. I’ve undergone every procedure without a whimper. I’ve made light of interns trying repeatedly to find a vein. I’d had bone marrow biopsies and had chemo pumped into my veins and my spinal fluid. I’ve lain in a perspex box waiting for radiation treatment while the machine breaks down repeatedly. I’ve waited in clinics with good humour. I’ve eaten hospital food meal after meal without complaint. I’ve done everything the doctors and nurses have told me to do and barely shed a tear. I’ve come through it all OK, but I feel like a dolt. I tell people that leukaemia isn’t so bad. It doesn't hurt. It makes you sick and tired, and so does the treatment. It’s nothing to be afraid of. But really, cancer is sneaky and deadly. It is your body doing things without your consent, often without even telling you. If you are to be afraid of anything, be afraid of cancer. My doctor tells me that the worst thing that happened to me was the diagnosis. Everything else has gone smoothly. But the diagnosis is no small thing. The truth is, most times I’ve been discharged from hospital I’ve been in a state that would cause a normal person to be admitted. The truth is that I’ve spent ten weeks in hospital and I’ve pretty much lost a year. The truth is that I’ll be living with the repercussions for the rest of my life.

Now, I’m wondering what I’ve survived for. At the moment I’m cooking and cleaning and picking up and putting down, and driving children around and facilitating their many activities. They are performing and having exams and going to parties and doing things. I’m not doing anything of my own. Did I survive to be of service to my children? To attend P&C meetings? Am I jealous because it is all about the children and not about me? Did I enjoy the attention that sickness brought me?

I need to have some FUN. What do mums do for fun? I need to feel physically free, but that isn’t very acceptable for mums. I want to sing and dance and spin and swim and draw and stretch and make things that come just from me. I’m so repressed I might crack if I move. I’ve been quiet and careful for a long time. I know that doing these things will make me cry, but I need to do them anyway. Otherwise, what’s the point? I’m scared of looking ridiculous, but I’m not likely to look more ridiculous than I did with no eyelashes or eyebrows and a tube in my neck. I didn’t go through all the fear of dying and pain of treatment just to return to more of the same life of service.

I don’t expect that having the experience of leukaemia gives me any great insight or revelation about life. I doesn’t mean I never get angry or feel mean. The leukemia may be gone for now, but I don’t yet know how I’m going to be processing it all from here. I'm expecting random tears. Bear with me.

And I keep hearing in my head a song that was company for me during one of my admissions, Janelle Monae, Cold War.

1 comment:

Jill in a Box said...

I listened to the Janelle Monae song. It's amazing. It sounds like what you endured was hideous. It sounds like you did a great job of getting through it and coping - like managing in a war. It's admirable and even impressive. I am not surprised you want some FUN. You deserve a lot of fun. Having fun is worth surviving for and everyone looks at least a little bit ridiculous when they have fun. Ok - I'm waiting now.